WINNIPEG — Opera singer Lara Secord-Haid, 21, celebrated her capture of five gold medals in the Manitoba Music Festival with a special concert recently at the Mennonite University.
A graduate of Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, the Winnipeg native is currently in her third year at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston studying with Lorraine Nubar.
“It always feels good to get some positive recognition for the work you’re doing, and I always find the assessment of my weaknesses to be helpful, too,” Secord-Haid says.
“In any festival, I hear so many other singers who have their own set of strengths, so it all comes down to the preferences and esthetic values of one judge to assign marks.”
Secord-Haid, a lyric coloratura soprano, won in the categories of Italian art song, French melody, Aria, German Lieder and Spanish cancion, as well as one silver medal in Oratorio.
She won the Alma Wynn Memorial Trophy at the 2006 Winnipeg Music Festival.
Her father, Marshall Haid, says that when she first began singing “it was hard to believe that such a powerful voice could come out of her small frame.”
Secord-Haid says she was drawn to opera because the drama always captivated her.
“Like an actor, an opera singer can express with the body and with the voice, but composers write subtext, implications, feelings or psychology that can’t be shown with the body into the orchestral part, and to me, that’s where the magic comes. Opera has the means to express some of the most intense aspects of the human experience.”
In 2010, Secord-Haid performed the role of Mme. Silberklang in The Impresario, put on by the Little Opera Company, as well as the role of Daria Garbinati in Viva la Mamma, put on by the New England Conservatory. This season, Secord-Haid was added to the artists’ roster of the Boston Metro Opera.
For her concert here, she performed selections from Donizetti’s opera Don Pasquale and was joined on piano by Darryl Friesen, who made his professional orchestral debut with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
Secord-Haid, who undergoes rigorous training to prepare for her roles, wowed the audience to a standing ovation with her powerful voice.
“My training consists of a one-hour voice lesson and two musical coachings every week, as well as diction and repertoire lessons in German, French and Italian. I practise generally between one and two hours a day, depending on vocal health and fatigue,” she says.
As for what her future holds, Secord- Haid says, “My next step will, I think, be grad school and competitions. I will only take the professional auditions I am ready for. It’s really easy to be overly ambitious.”
Secord-Haid says she chose to hold her recent concert in Winnipeg at the Mennonite University “because they have a lovely auditorium with nice acoustics and a beautiful piano. What more could I want?”